7 Adjustments to Make on your CV Before Applying for Jobs in the Middle East
You probably know that every CV should be different for each application. However, did you ever consider your CV changing depending on the region you are applying in? It’s true. Various locations have certain requirements distinctive of that region and the Middle East is one of those locales.
The largest factor at the crux of these nuances is the lack of an anti-discrimination law that exists in many of the Gulf Nations. This can lead to – what may seem – an interrogation of your personal privacy, questions that are usually illegal to ask in many countries. Not in the Middle East; and it is common practice to ask such questions, so to save the hassle, it is advisable to include such information on your CV.
Below, we have highlighted the 7 key differences between a Middle East and Western CV an expat must consider before applying for jobs in the Gulf.
Chances are you have been advised everywhere else in the world to avoid including a photo on your CV. The Middle East is different. Hiring Managers in the region want to be able to see your face and gauge whether your appearance (age, gender, ethnicity) align with what they are looking for within their company. It is not uncommon for people getting an interview based upon their appearance as opposed to their work experience. That being said, however, the vetting process is not solely reliant on appearance itself. A professional photo is just one factor that can help tip the weight in your favour and if it is missing can tip it in the other.
Tip: Be sure to include a professional looking photo in business attire, typically located in the top right hand corner of your CV.
Date of Birth
Often candidates throughout the Middle East include their Date of Birth as many applications will reference a desired age range they are looking for in the successful applicant. They are usually quite stringent with this so if they say “we are looking for someone below the age of 50 for this position” and you are 52, chances are you may not be considered. Similarly, if you do fit the criteria, make sure you state this on your CV to give the employer no doubts. Whatever you do, do not be tempted to lie or embellish the truth.
Similar to age, many applications may reference a particular gender required for the position. An unfamiliar concept for many westerners if you are a male applying for a female position you are wasting your time. Although you think your gender may be easily identified by your first name, don’t be too sure and mention it for clarification purposes.
Included in the detailed personal information section, is the inclusion of your marital status. This is important not only to help the hiring manager understand the profile of the applicant and how to engage with the candidate, but identify certain visa requirements if talks progress past the first and second interview stage. In certain areas of the Middle East, certain visas are more difficult to acquire. For example, family visas are more difficult to obtain in Saudi Arabia than in the UAE so this may be concerning for Saudi companies when considering applicants with families. Nonetheless, if you impress enough, the company will do their utmost in offering an enticing compensations package that will cater towards your current situation, visa included.
Nationality holds a lot more weight in some Middle East countries than in western societies, namely in the UAE. Including your nationality is important as it helps the employer and hiring manager determine where you are from, if you fit the criteria for the desired candidate and how easy it may be for them to get a visa for you. Your nationality can be relevant in regards to whether the company is a multinational or national organization and what type of industry the company serves. If you have dual citizenship, list the nationality you believe the employer will see as desirable (or the easiest visa acquisition). Nationality is a very important factor to mention on your CV (particularly in Dubai) so be sure not to avoid it.
Including your visa status, particularly if you currently hold one can be advantageous as it will help the employer identify whether they need to apply for one/sponsor you if successful. Usually this (and all the fees associated with the visa) will be included in the salary package, so identifying this can aid in the negotiation process. Visas are an important consideration for employers when hiring expats so clearly stating this can spare a potentially embarrassing misunderstanding come salary negotiation time.
As an expat or someone applying from abroad, making sure you include your international country code and area code is a must! Do not automatically assume they know how to dial to your country, make it easy for them and put in the complete number, including country and area code (if applicable). Highlighting the best means of contact is also a good idea to mention on your CV. It is also good practice to add your Skype name if they wish to hold a video web conference with you (for advice on how to conduct a perfect web conference interview click here). However, make sure your Skype name is professional. If not, get a new one.
Tip: Your contact details can usually be located along with your name at the top of your document whereas personal details including your nationality, visa status, marital status, gender and date of birth can be included in a section at the end.
If you desire a move to one of the Middle East markets but don’t know where to start, why not upload your CV to our site and be assigned your very own personal job hunt manager today.